Eco printing using flowers

Having been on a day’s workshop at Hawkwood College with Babs Behan, on which we used flowers from the garden to print a silk scarf and being pleased withe results, I got rather carried away back home.  I mordanted silk with alum, cotton and linen with aluminium acetate which gives much better results on plant fibres.  Here are just a few of my results.  I sprayed everything with vinegar before rolling up and  all bundles were steamed.

I also printed some papers for my project on Nature Journaling with Roxanne Evans Stout. The first three are paper – mulberry paper, Japanese rice paper and Nepalese mixed fibres.

I used dahlia and rose petals, hollyhocks, mallow, anthemis tinctoria, calendula,  French marigolds, some elderberries still on the stalks, which I crushed, elderberry and rose leaves a, purple sage,  purple carrot, thinly sliced,hibiscus and ordinary teabags, plus a small quantity of iron filings.

Japanese silk  which has a flower motive integrated into the cloth.

Cotton sheeting

Another piece of Japanese silk.  The circular blue marks are from the purple carrot, a spectacular result.

Linen.  Here the leaf marks are quite noticeable.


Gelli plate mono prints using plant material

Having purchased a commercial gel plate some time ago and not really used it much, I decided to do some printing with plant material.  I made the following little book.  The cover uses a collagraph print around the spine and I mounted the trimmed prints on khadi paper.

Spirits of the Garden

I  then made myself a slightly larger plate, using gelatine and glycerine – the latter ingredient being important as it stops mould developing and stops the gelatine turning to liquid, which is what happened the first time I made one using only gelatine.

The prints are a combination of the first print with the ghost print added over it to get the details of the plants.  On the second ivy print, I used the paint left on the leaves to press onto the negative shapes.





New scroll book

I have been invited by the Embroiders’ Guild to submit a piece of work for their exhibition at the Knitting and Stitching Show, entitled Page 17, using a book as inspiration.  I chose ‘The Crane Wife’ by Patrick Ness, which takes a Japanese folk tale in which a couple assist an injured crane who then returns in human form to weave beautiful fabric, plucking feathers from her breast, which they can then sell.  Ness transports this tale into present day London.

I have titled it “With the arrow removed from her wing, the crane calls at the moon”  Size: 58 cms by 23.5.



My inspiration was the boro style of stitching, patching old fabrics.  I used vintage Japanese fabrics, indigo dyed fabrics, printing, bleach discharge, painted bondaweb, feathers, sequins and mother of pearl buttons.